The World Cup is winding down, we’re heading into baseball’s All-Star Break, and the NFL is in the summer lull before training camps ramp up later this month. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have something to occupy wall-to-wall coverage on ESPN, the blathering reaching a deafening, fever pitch, an incessant buzzing chatter that reaches to Twitter and expands its reach to every single goddamn corner of the Internet like a virus, infecting even the most level-headed spectator, causing him or her to become a rabid idiot, frothing at the mouth with a deep, desperate craving for every possible, tiny morsel of information whether it’s true or relevant or not.
That something is Lebron James.
The courting of Lebron James is the most elaborate, eye-rolling, gag-inducing shit-show this side of Westeros. Hell, even Joffrey’s wedding had intrigue and an asshole choking to death at the end. The only choking Lebron’s wooing by the Heat resulted in came in the 2010 and 2014 Finals. (ZING!)
But, seriously, it appears as if we learned nothing from the debacle that was 2010. The Decision backfired so badly on one of the greatest players in the NBA that most fans actually hated him until hating him grew so exhausting that now we all just kind of shrug when they win and a small fist pump when they lose but otherwise move on about our merry way.
You know how ridiculous the Decision was? So ridiculous that the Houston Rockets tried to woo Carmelo Anthony with a photo of him on their jumbotron wearing the jersey of a player that’s already on their team. And Linsanity to boot! This is Carmelo Anthony, a player that’s going to get paid over $20 million next season and has pushed his team only to the Conference Finals ONCE.*
That’s your fault, Lebron. You set the current precedent. Sure, the fawning over free agents has always been lavish – hell, look at the tail every major college football program has thrown at high school recruits for ages – but you took this bullshit to another level. The cost invested in each team’s attempt to woo you probably equates to at least half a year’s salary for the average NBA fan. If not more. This is on your head, Lebron.
But, besides the idea of GMs across the NBA getting on their knees for Lebron yet again and the non-stop explosive diarrhea that is ESPN covering Lebron’s wheareabouts – and don’t get me started on Cleveland Sports Twitter right now – is the idea that Lebron is putting the world’s most fragile fanbase through the wringer AGAIN. They already lost you once in the most humiliating way possible. Getting dumped on the Kiss Cam is heaven compared to the way you ripped out Cleveland’s hearts on national TV after Jim Gray was done fellating you for half an hour. These people have to watch the Browns every fall, watch the Tribe collapse every year, and you shit right in their mouths.
DUDE. You KNOW where you want to play. Money should be NO OBJECT to you. What, you’re worried you may not make the max in Miami? You know the pieces each team has to support you. You know how you’d fit into each team’s gameplan. Right now, all you’re doing is milking this for as much attention and build up as you can muster. And the best part for you is you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to say anything publicly or make any appearance or tweet a photo in that passive aggressive “I’m saying something without saying something” way that we’re all familiar with already because we all follow exes on Facebook.
And, look, ESPN was going to Lebrongasm over this anyway, really, and dissect your decision in a million different ways but you could have saved everyone a whole lot of time by simply issuing a press release on July 1, the day free agency began, saying where you were going. By that point, you KNEW. You saw the draft, you knew who each team had and had traded to free up space. You can dictate whatever contract you want and pick what teammates you want. YOU HAVE THAT POWER. All it would take was a one paragraph release and this circus packs up. At least at that point we could roll our eyes at SportsCenter but you’re continuing to enable them.
Going back to Miami? Great! Say so. Making the return to Cleveland? Better yet: Give them a reason to celebrate on July 4. LA Clippers? No one could blame you, just make it so.
No one is blaming you for wanting to make as much money as you can and win as many championships as you can. Frankly, anyone who gives you this “Jordan didn’t need to team up with people to win” is an idiot that doesn’t understand how important Pippen and other role-players were for the Bulls, especially in the second three-peat. This is a business, after all, and you have to look after yourself and put yourself in the best situation possible. It’s what we all try to do when we look for new jobs. I can’t hold that against you. But there is no other line of work in which you can drag your feet about where you go and purposely leave companies and supporters twisting in the wind, awaiting a decision, when you already know.
So put in an end to this silliness now. Starting today, NBA free agents can officially sign new deals which makes it good timing to do it. Just tweet out where you’re going! You’ll beat Ellen’s stupid selfie tweet in NO TIME.
Stop this bullshit. You have the ability to do it, to prevent yourself from the Tebow Zone. You know, deep down, where you want to go. So just say it. Allow the Cleveland fans to get excited for this season (because, hell, you would instantly make the Cavs the Eastern Conference favorite with that young roster) or focus entirely on prematurely hating Johnny Football. Allow us to get back to mundane ESPN stories about baseball’s unwritten rules. Allow us to get back to our own mundane lives. And finally fucking explain what the real meaning of the Fourth of July is to your kids because apparently they’re fragile butterflies who can’t take the fact we used to be a British colony I guess.
Just do it.
(* – NOTE: Of course, we all know that playoff performance is hardly a qualifier when it comes to salary but, come on, at least King James had greater success carrying a team completely on his shoulders when he was in Cleveland.)